Vietnamese PoCs in Hunger Strike to Demand for Fans amid Super Hot Summer

Mr. Truong Minh Duc and his wife Nguyen Kim Thanh before being re-arrested in 2017

Defend the Defenders, June 21, 2019


Many Vietnamese prisoners in Prison camp No. 6 in Thanh Chuong district, Nghe An province have been conducting hunger strike for the 10th day to demand the prison’s authorities improve living conditions of the prisoners held in the facility, Defend the Defenders has learned.

Particularly, the hunger strike started after the prison’s authorities removed all electrical fans from the cells amid extreme hot summer in the central region in which the highest temperature may hit 50 Celsius degrees, said Mrs. Nguyen Kim Thanh, the wife of prisoner of conscience Truong Minh Duc.

During her visit to the prison on June 20, Mrs. Thanh found her husband very weak. “Duc walked into the visiting room unsteadily. He told me, with tears in his eyes, the temperature [in prison cells] is so hot, perhaps I won’t have the chance to reunite with you [outside prison].”

Mr. Duc, who is serving his 13-year imprisonment term,asked his wife to urgently pass on the message to international rights organizations, foreign embassies…  that the temperature in the prison cells was extremely hot [50 degrees Celsius], prisoners of conscience held in there are of advanced age, yet the prison did not provide electric fans, those who have heart diseases can fall dead at any time.

In Nghe An province, the temperature outside is over 40°C, it was extremely hot, and said that in the prison cell, there was no fan, the cell has a low ceiling with corrugated iron roof, the heat was extreme.

There were some fans in cells before, but recently the prison dismantled them, saying all the fans were out of order.

Duc said he and his fellows made written requests for electric fans but prison officials only gave excuses.

Mr. Duc’s health is very bad, said Thanh. He rambled on and on like a crazy man, he asked his wife the same question three times, that caused her so much concern! She asked him whether he is mentally confused and he said he was exhausted.

Mr. Duc, 58, is a vice president of the two unregistered independent organizations named Brotherhood for Democracy and Viet Labor Movement. He was arrested on July 30, 2017 and charged with subversion.

In 2018, he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison and three years of probation. He is listed as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

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